Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On the Day of & during the Night of Hollywood Christmas Parade, You Can Be a Christmas Balloon Elf, Thanks to the Hollywood Hotel.

By Laura Medina

Running out of Christmas/Holiday gifting ideas?  Especially, when you got enough stuff.

Now a days, everyone is all about "living the experience."

Why not give others and yourself an experience that occurs once a year, being a balloon wrangler as a guest at the Hollywood Hotel.

It's a special, once-a-year, hotel package where you enter a special world that happens once a year, November 27th, the day and night of the Hollywood Christmas Parade...

Since anchoring, pulling, holding, and guiding a huge parade balloon is one heck of resistance training, the Hollywood Hotel is kind enough to provide an one-night stay to rest your weary bones and buns of steel.

Minimally sleek yet Hollywood Chic, interior designers, Katy Naghavi, founder of the successful, Beverly Hills-based studio, Atelier Katayon, explained the décor.

Fresh, chic and cosmopolitan, this creation is classic Hollywood style minus the clichés. There are no framed movie posters here, and not a film reel in sight. Instead, guests will indulge in stylish, modern comfort. Updated elements include light wood grain floors, down-filled duvets and pillows, interactive flat-screen TVs and modern custom-designed furnishings. A freestanding, vintage style clothes rack and fashion-inspired artwork add a witty and glamorous touch of studio wardrobe department to the overall feel.

The new rooms' scene-stealing mix of patterns, textures and colors includes a compact but striking black and white bathroom with Waterworks fixtures and Poggessi toiletries from Tuscany. Added to the mix, guests will enjoy a selection of exquisite in-room amenities typically associated with world-class luxury brands: single serve coffee makers, waffle-weave spa robes, monogrammed bed throw, headboard-mounted, flexible reading lights and an blue tooth enabled station/alarm/clock.

Once checked and settled in, you can hop and skip over to the Los Angeles Metro Subway station at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.

Follow Jeff Zarrinnam's (The Hollywood Hotel's CEO and President and unofficial "Head Elf") advice, "Get on the Santa Monica & Vermont subway, count four stops until you arrive at Hollywood & Highland subway stop. Get off at the Hollywood & Highland station/stop then walk up to Hollywood Boulevard then walk to the balloon wrangler/Christmas Parade check-in at 7065 Hollywood Boulevard.  Don't forget to bring in your Registration Form, signed."

Once you submit, literally, the paperwork...signed...and checked in with your red "Hollywood Christmas Parade" wristband, you entered a temporary but very much magical world of parade performers in the right mini-green room where you get your appropriate green or red parade t-shirts.

But on the left-hand side, is the celebrity green room, where this year's parade headliners, Cyndi Lauper and Kenny G. get styled and warm-up and where the band, War, fuel up for their float performance...

Here's the band, War, chilling, warming up, and fueling up in a conference/dining room, watching the football games on their phones.  They didn't load up on their float until 3:30pm.

Mind you, the gourmet snacks  and "green room," where War was grouping up and warming up, was the minor green room.

But, you got to wait for Jeff Zarrinnam to get you into the "real" Green Room. 

As The Hollywood Hotel's "Head Elf," he's the only one who can get you...and your "Hollywood Hotel Balloon" Team members into the official "Green Room, a magical building," Hollywood's idea of Diagon Alley.

Jeff informed, that in the "real Main Green Room," you'll meet a bunch of celebrities, like Erik Estrada...

Jeff is wise enough to suggest to us "Hollywood Hotel Elves/Balloon Wranglers" to load up on the feast, because we'll be waiting outside for two hours, for us to start marching for the three miles long parade.

We "Hollywood Hotel/Christmas Parade Elves" loaded up on heart-warming, filling feast of: Cranberry-Apple Glazed Stuffed Roasted Pork Loin, Chicken Roulade, Broccoli Au Gratin, Black Truffle Mac n' Cheese, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  The desserts have their own dining room! 

With our tummies full, our systems fortified, and our hearts warm, Jeff instructed us elves to conjugate where the balloons are being blown up..."Places everyone. Places everyone," El Cerrito Place, off Hollywood Boulevard. 

The Hollywood Hotel Gang composed of the hotel guests and the non-profit arts organization, "Playground of Dreams," http://playgroundofdreams.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/Playgroundofdreams/?fref=nf,  a mentoring program that provides children with a safe place to dream, to ignite their creativity, and to be inspired leaders in their communities.  It's one of many charities that Jeff participates in.  Having these kids as balloon wranglers, is one of many ways to fulfill these kids' dreams.  Also, big kids' dreams, too.

As the last and the next to last balloons, Balloons 14th and 15th, "The Hollywood Hotel Elf" balloons helmed by "Playground of Dreams and Hollywood Hotel guests" crew, the parade crews and the marching bands all start at La Brea Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard (the Formation Balloon area, El Cerrito Place) then march through the red carpet at Hollywood and Highland then turn down Vine and Cahuenga, marching south on Cahuenga, turn left onto Sunset then end at Sunset and Sycamore Float Disbanding Area, after dodging horse fertilizers and low-hanging traffic lights, so not to rip the expensive parade balloons and trudge through the horse fertilizer.


The Christmas Spirit and team bonding didn't end there.

Jeff, the "Head Elf," kindly buys the whole crew In n' Out meals, as a rewarding and truly Californian dinner for guiding and holding the Hollywood Hotel Elf balloons for the whole three parade miles.

What a bonding experience to tying up this whole "window of time" that leads you to a tunnel of rare and unique events and places that only occurs once a year.

The Playground of Dreams kid was kind and courteous enough, in how to return to Hollywood Hotel, using the LA Metro Subway system, board the Red Line heading to Union Station, at the Hollywood & Highland station.  In reverse, count four stops.  When you reach the Santa Monica Boulevard & Vermont Avenue station stop, get off the subway train there, ride escalator up to the corner of  Santa Monica Boulevard & Vermont Avenue, cross across Vermont Avenue then walk up half the block to Hollywood Hotel, where you can rest your weary feet and buns of steel for a night.

There isn't like resting up your feet (please wear comfortable boots and a good field jacket with good patch pockets and a cap for inclement weather) and a warm mug of decaf coffee after a good long, resistant exercise wrangling a huge parade balloon.  Think of it as one, big kite.

You earned your post-Hollywood Christmas Parade breakfast/brunch of: Made-from-Scratch Omelette, special Hearts Belgian Waffles, and pile on the sausages.

Before you know it, you're back to the real world at the 11am check-out time.

Being an Hollywood Christmas Parade "Balloon Elf/Wrangler" could be an once-in-a lifetime experience, but it can be a new Christmas/Holiday tradition when all you have to do is book the Hollywood Christmas Parade Package at the Hollywood Hotel every year, for you and/or for your friends and family; but the bonding and the welcome are forever.

Yes Virginia, the Christmas Spirit does exist in Hollywood.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

One of People.com's Sexiest Man Alive & One of Tinder's Most Right-Swiped Man, Andy Mizrahi, Lifts the Veil Off New York's & Los Angeles' Dating Scene ;)

By Laura Medina

When Andy Mizrahi got on Tinder, after his divorce, he didn't expect to be New Jersey's Most Right-Swiped Man on Tinder, nor did he expected to be one of People's "50 Sexiest Men of Tinder."

Neither did he expected to be doling dating advice and socio-anthropological insights on the dating scenes in New York versus dating in Los Angeles.

As a comedian/film maker/video producer and media marketer, Andy has the opportunities and access to date, socialize, woo and schmooze in both cities...and their unique dating scenes.

Here is his insights and advice on how to date, how to socialize, and how to cope in both the Big Apple and the City of Angels.

His first advice or his first approach to each city, is enjoy what is unique in each city.

In New York, enjoy all the cultural events and diversity that this "culture vulture" city has to offer, the cultural/art societies' events and their parties/soirees.  If it fits your interest(s), go for it!  You'll have a better chance of finding someone who shares your interests, which holds a better chance for a relationship.

In Los Angeles, this New Jersey/New York guy has nothing but kind and sympathetic yet wise words for the City of Angels.

What a deep man!  He gently lift the veil off Los Angeles' clichés of being flaky and vapid when he explained that people in L.A. are career-minded, focused on building their budding career goals and dreams..; Los Angeles is the best place to mold and shape your career.  It isn't that people are mean.  It's that,they're busy pursing their goals.  The fact that Los Angeles attracts the most creative people in the world then fosters that drive and talent to the  oomph degree, and that people made sacrifices to come there, they're funneling most of their energy into their careers. 

Andy,"...flakiness is directly related to the fact that people are desperately trying to build their budding careers...Los Angeles is the hub for artistic greatness.
If you want to be the best in the world in art, film, music, dancing, comedy, acting and so on, being the best in LA is going to take you there.
There's no question about it. These are facts, not opinions. If you're the best filmmaker or musician in LA, you will be the best in the world.
People from all over the globe leave their home town in search of this greatness to get to the top of their industry."

Andy is kind enough as he is understanding enough to know that as you better in your career, what you need and want will change as you mature and as your career advances.   Whatever loose ends that doesn't fit you now, tend to be snipped off now.  The weaker significant who was good in the early first stages, isn't the right person now in the present or in the future.

"If you're in LA, you probably sacrificed a lot to get there.
And if that's the case, I'm going to assume you're not going to let a weak significant other slow you down. Or, a significant other isn't your top priority.
Also, as you change levels in your career from say, an actor who gets a few commercial gigs to becoming a lead actor in a Blockbuster film, your tastes are going to change. Your preferences are going to change. That's why people are flaky. Because just like that, their whole universe can be flipped upside down and they now need to adjust their lives to match that. And that may mean to cut out lose ends with dating partners who no longer fit into their lives.
And I think people in LA understand that, and are ready for that change."

So, whatever dating...all right, mating...there is in the Entertainment Capital of the World, happens to be light-hearted but fun-filled.

As a comedian and film director/producer, Andy is lucky to be aware and in the know of uniquely Hollywood industry events that pique his fan-boy interests.

Other than the really easy and really cheap chances of hiking during the day then hitting comedy clubs at night.  Andy's favorite L.A. thing was this rare promotional Questions & Answers event by his celebrity idol, "Full House" Bob Saget.  Andy is a Bob Saget fan.  He was psyched that he and his date really enjoyed the Bob Saget's Q & A.  Again, light-hearted fun as it was culturally cool.

Okay, Los Angeles' dating reputation as flaky and vapid is helped by the constant, perfect sunny Mediterranean weather.

Not so in the seasonally-dependent New York, the standard-bearer of the East Coast, up and down the East Coast...

There are reasons to the seasons.  This is where he lifts the veil off New York's "Sex and the City" myth and why is it like that.

Right now, as Andy and this scribe speak, is what he calls, "The Cuddling Season."  That window of time that is currently crucial to find someone to cuddle with, as the Holiday Season starts to cool down yet it is still warm enough to go out and hunt for that cuddle buddy, before it gets so freezing cold in the death of Winter, that nobody wants to go outside and hunt.  Like he mentioned a couple of times during the interview, you better "go for it!"

Actually, "the Cuddling Season," sounds pretty darn romantic.  The setting up of a roaring fireplace, the lure of hot cocoa and hot tea, and sharing gooey cheese snacks with a cuddling buddy is...romantic.

But, Andy does state the regional differences between New York versus "Happy Go Lucky" appearance of L.A...

New Yorkers hunting for a mate, do so after and once, they established their careers.  They're at that stage in life where they can afford a mate, which means they can afford a relationship.  They're not nourishing a fledgling career like they are in Los Angeles.

After years building then establishing their careers, New Yorkers are more serious about looking for a mate.  If light-hearted or half-hearted, these relationship-minded New Yorkers aren't wasting their precious time, energy, and money on something that is flaky.

Yet at the other end of the time-starved spectrum, there are New Yorkers where that "window of time" opening is everything.  These New Yorkers know they'll never meet that peculiar person again.  No second chances. So, for these New Yorkers-they just go for it!  Once that window of time closes, that person disappears and you're left out in the cold.

If and when craving for company, New Yorkers hit the bar scenes.  What Andy calls, "Drunker Dates," where people are forced to huddle together in warm bars for sheer warmth and company, where Andy says, "Putting on your  "beer jackets."

It doesn't have to be so extreme.  Remember, there are reasons behind the seasons...

Once Spring has sprung, New Yorkers are just dying to soak up that window of time of perfect sunny weather and get out and meet people!

Since New York is a cultural and arts capital, you can't help but party and socialize among the city's many arts and culture clubs' and society events and soirees.  If you're a culture vulture or a social butterfly, this is your thing to fly around and taste the nectar.

Things heat up during the Summer, especially when New Yorkers decamp to "adult Spring Break," the Hamptons and/or "Jet Blue/Southwest" their way down to Charleston, South Carolina's Spoleto International Arts Festival and the Spoleto Scene "Hollywood in Charleston" glam-slam parties because it's cheaper to party in Downtown Charleston than it is in Manhattan.

This isn't all bad. According to Andy, people are in a better mood.

Paraphrasing him, "Summer flings are the best. Our bodies are chemically reacting differently, hormones and testosterone levels are higher, and I think that adds to it. By the way I'm not in any scientific field so you have to look that up for verification.
But also, people are in better moods...In the cold east, we have this summer fling time to go get a significant other. A Shack up buddy.  This is it. Go for it. Go get that. Summer is the best time to make memories and do the fun dates and adventures that you can only have in summer time...
In our case it's going to the beach, or summer festivals and so on."

If you can't make it all the way to sunny, light-hearted L.A., just on hold onto your hats and wait for Spring and Summer to arrive.

Don't despair, it isn't so extreme black and white in New York versus L.A.

With California's Central Valley being everybody's produce basket, fresh meals and yes, their juices are abundant for a light-hearted and healthy lunch date then an afternoon sip and stroll or a really good dinner, at least in L.A.

With more abundant space and a rising established class, you can recreate the "New York Cultural" experience and visit The Broad Museum then dine at Otium's fancy, fresh meals in up and coming Downtown L.A.

With California's easy produce and New York's cultural focus, you and your date do a cooking class together.  If y'all didn't mesh, don't fret.  At least, y'all did something new and fun and might learn something newer and better for the next date.

Andy Mizrahi's best dating advice, overall is enjoy the first date as a fun and exciting experience that you'll have a great story to tell, regardless wherever you are.

When this scribe told him, that there might be a chance for a couple to in the Hollywood Christmas Parade as balloon handlers, he brighten up, saying that makes for a fun date and an unique story😃

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quench those Skin Cells and those Dehydrating Headaches at the Same Time.

By Laura Medina


If the post-election shock, the following drinking binge hangover, weekly Indian Summer Heat Waves, and just working out get your skin and head over-heated and dried-up, you're in a mood for some healthy hydration.

An influential fitness trainer asked this baby-faced scribe, "What's your secret to good skin?"

Here is the list of the following items.

First up is the most available now, aloe vera juice is now a juice thanks to Aloe Gloe.  They come in light, refreshing flavors that you don't notice your feeding your skin hydrating your worn-out brain cells.


Coconut water is also widely available, such as Invo Coconut Water.

The pink tint comes naturally with the freshly-pressed coconut water from the coconut flesh.


The third and not the least, is Activate Water by two active dudes, Burke Eiteljorg and Anders Eisner, son of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, saw the significant benefits of keeping the vitamins separate from the water in their research with an independent laboratory. They discovered that vitamins and other ingredients lose their potency as they sit in water over time. With the active ingredients stored inside the cap, the vitamins stay fresh.

“The founders were looking for a convenient way to take their vitamins [because] the hassle of dumping vitamin powder packets into water bottles and taking horse pills was not ideal,” said Jesse Merrill, vice president of ACTIVATE. “That then led to the development of a proprietary cap that offered a convenient all-in-one solution.”

Eiteljorg and Eisner became inspired to launch the brand after noticing the abundance of vitamin-enhanced waters loaded with calories and sugar. In their search for something better, the two created a product naturally sweetened with stevia. The bottles were recently released in sustainable packaging of 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.
The drinks come in five types of vitamin mixes for whatever your body needs: vitamin, immunity, antioxidant, energy and workout.

Because of the store-&-twist cap, ACTIVATE Water is harder to find but you can find the brand at select CVS drugstores and Bristol Farms.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Donald Robertson, One Night at Junk Food Abbot Kinney, Millennials' Idea of Andy Warhol.

By Laura Medina

For you all Millennials, Andy Warhol was a commercial artist before he was accepted by the art elite.
Even after he was accepted by the art elite, Andy still continued to his commercial aspect by being a premiere pop culture artist and his lasting legacy, the high-meet-low, elite-meet-pop culture, finger on the pulse magazine, Interview Magazine.

A humble graphic designer, with MAC's beginnings, is following in his foot steps, Donald Robertson.  He went from building MAC's graphics and window dressing from the ground up to major, upscale department store's art installations for all (the new window dressing) to brainstorming ad and makeup collaborations with Smashbox and other Estee Lauder's makeup brands to it's newest makeup brand, FLIRT by Amber Rose.

Lucky and happy to have free reign, for one night-only, Donald Robertson sketch, painted, and illustrated art work on whomever purchased Junk Food t-shirts.

The Junk Food t-shirt shop on Abbot Kinney is also a Donald Robertson art gallery.  He even designed a surfboard, fitting for the Venice Beach area Bourgeois Bohemian-Silicon Beach-surfers.  The ones who wear Junk Food's t-shirts as daily uniforms.

Smart wearable art as fashion, Junk Food sells ready to wear Donald Robertson's t-shirts.

As Estee Lauder's newest brand branch, Donald Robertson did graphics for Amber Rose's new makeup line, FLIRT Cosmetics, along with his one-night only appearance.

Donald Robertson is the amicable and approachable Andy Warhol for all.